On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Pangea client, Floricel Liborio Ramos, was freed from immigration detention after substantial litigation, multiple appeals, and requests for her release. Today, on her first day free after 11 months, Floricel came out to speak in gratitude for the massive community love and support she received throughout her detention. We hope that her case can set a positive example for judges and courts across the United States.  Read the Federal District Court's order here.  

 Community members from Faith in Action, RISE, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the Immigrant Liberation Movement, and others out in support of Floricel's hearing at the Federal District Court in Northern California (San Francisco, March 13, 2017) 

Community members from Faith in Action, RISE, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the Immigrant Liberation Movement, and others out in support of Floricel's hearing at the Federal District Court in Northern California (San Francisco, March 13, 2017) 

 

Federal District Court’s Order Freeing Floricel Liborio Should Serve as a Lesson to All Immigration Judges Across the U.S.

 Immigrant rights activists celebrate the momentous reuniting of Floricel Liborio Ramos with her family after order by United States District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar requiring her release. The order should serve as a lesson to immigration judges that they cannot deny bond to immigrants simply because of a DUI.

WHAT: Press conference in celebration of Floricel’s returning home to her children after over 11 months in immigration custody

WHERE: Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111

WHEN: 11:30am on Thursday, March 15, 2018

WHO: Floricel, immigrant rights activists, faith leaders and other supporters 

San Francisco, CA- Immigrant rights activists hold press conference at SF Federal District Court Building welcoming Floricel Liborio Ramos after she was released on Wednesday following a District Court order granting her immediate release from the West County Detention Facility.  Ms. Liborio Ramos detention comes to a celebrated closure after District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled that the Government failed to meet its burden to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Liborio Ramos poses a threat to the community.

Judge Tigar found Immigration Judge Burch had erred when she unfairly ruled that Floricel was a danger to the community given her previous DUIs, “The IJ’s decision not to release Liborio Ramos rests firmly on Liborio Ramos’s two DUI convictions.[...] while an immigrant’s criminal history is relevant, ‘criminal history alone will not always be sufficient to justify denial of bond on the basis of dangerousness.’”

"[T]wo non-violent [DUI] misdemeanors in which no one was injured, in light of the other facts in this record, simply do not justify indefinite detention," Judge Tigar's ruling continued. In a few days, Ms. Liborio Ramos would have been detained for nearly a year, more than the longest sentence she could have served under California law for a misdemeanor DUI.

"We’re seeing undocumented immigrants punished twice by the immigration courts," claimed Jehan Laner Romero, Ms. Liborio Ramos' attorney at Pangea Legal Services. "This was the case with Floricel, who was complying with the criminal court order for her prior DUI conviction.”

Community supporters of Ms. Liborio have much to celebrate after 8 months of arduous efforts to support her case by packing the courtroom during her hearings, holding rallies and uplifting their support for Floricel. Immigration Judge Valerie A. Burch had denied her bond on two different occasions, even though the Government failed to sustain its burden to prove Ms. Liborio Ramos was a danger to the community. To many, this only highlights the unjust practices of some immigration courts — and the importance of higher courts and community members to hold immigration judges accountable. "An immigration court should not serve to merely justify an immigrant's deportation, but rather it should be there to serve justice," said Blanca Vazquez, one of the organizers supporting Ms. Liborio Ramos' case with the Immigrant Liberation Movement. "We hope Floricel's case serves as a lesson for all immigration judges across the United States." 

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 Floricel speaks at press conference before the court that ordered her release (San Francisco, March 15, 2018)

Floricel speaks at press conference before the court that ordered her release (San Francisco, March 15, 2018)